Saint Ignace is the first town you’ll visit after crossing the Mackinac Bridge, and it’s one of the best places in Michigan to visit, especially during the summer months, as there are so many things to do in St. Ignace.
Popular activities include seeing Castle Rock, a geological limestone stack nearby. Or settle in with a beer and listen to live music in front of the Mackinac Bridge! Saint Ignace is also a popular jumping-off point for Mackinaw Island, so many people visit both.
All this is not to say there is nothing to do in St. Ignace during the snowy months. In the winter, the town comes alive with lights and horse-drawn sleighs; it’s easily one of the most magical places to spend Christmas in Michigan.
No matter the season you are visiting, here are just a few of the best things to do in St. Ignace.
The Best Things To Do In St. Ignace
1. Cross the Mackinac Bridge
- Address: Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City (GPS)
Arguably the most popular and instantly recognizable landmark of St Ignace is the beautifully constructed Mackinac Bridge. Amongst the largest suspension bridges in the world, this marvel of engineering helps connect St Ignace to Mackinaw City over the calm blue waters of the Strait of Mackinac.
With Lake Michigan and Lake Huron on either side, crossing the bridge provides scenic panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
The Mackinac Bridge Walk event, which happens every year on Labor Day, is the only time that the public is allowed to walk the entire length of the bridge and is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on!
2. Hike & Picnic At Straits State Park
- Address: 720 Church St, St Ignace (GPS)
Straits State Park offers views of the Mackinac Bridge, hiking trails, modern campsites, picnic tables, grills, and water fountains. You can also swim in certain places around the park and there are three designated playgrounds for your kids to enjoy.
The popular Father Marquette National Memorial is also within the boundaries of Straits State Park, which makes it a great place to camp or spend the evening. The scenic views of boats passing underneath Mackinac Bridge as the sun sets make it also a great location for photography enthusiasts.
3. Enjoy the Scenic Views From The Top Of Castle Rock
- Address: St Ignace Township (GPS)
If you are into geology you will simply love a visit to Castle Rock, which is easily one of the best things to do in Saint Ignace. This limestone rock formation towers above the waters of Lake Huron just north of St Ignace. Formed through millions of years of erosion the jaw-dropping natural formation is referred to as a ‘sea chimney’ and is a sight to behold up close.
There are also plenty of legends, stories, myths, and folklore surrounding Castle Rock which adds to the intrigue of this popular tourist spot. Its highlight though, is the phenomenal panoramic views from its top which can be reached via a steep staircase. Castle Rock is only open from Mid-May to Mid-October if you plan on visiting.
4. Pay A Visit To The Museum Of Ojibwa Culture
- Address: 500 N State St, St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
First Nation culture is spiritual and fascinating. As such, if you are a history buff at heart you simply can’t pass over the opportunity to visit a museum dedicated to preserving Native American culture and history.
Based inside an old church, the Museum of Ojibwa Culture & Marquette Mission Park houses plenty of Native American artifacts, artwork, and even sculptures of famous historical figures.
There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and other arts and crafts items made by local Native Americans. The museum is free to visit but does accept donations.
5. Enjoy Scenic Views At Bridge View Park
- Address: W69 Boulevard Dr, St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
One of the best things to do in Saint Ignace is just sit back and enjoy the view. Another park that offers scenic views of the Mackinac Bridge, is the aptly named Bridge View Park. Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, a name given to the body of water where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet, Bridge View Park is a great place to spend a few hours taking in the picturesque waterfront views and enjoying a picnic lunch.
The park also features an observation building and free-to-use picnic pavilions as well as a large paved parking lot.
6. Explore The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum & Whitefish Point Light Station
- Address: 18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise (GPS)
- Hours: Monday- Sunday:8 :00 am – 5:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adults: $15.00, Children 17 and under: $11.00, Children 5 and under: FREE, Family, 2 adults and 2 or more children: $50.00
Located on the southern-east end of Lake Superior, this popular tourist destination is a must-see for those visiting St Ignace. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum houses many historic artifacts that are reminiscent of a time when this coastline was referred to as “Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast”.
These dangerous waters were notoriously difficult to navigate for mariners until the construction of the Whitefish Point Light Station. The lighthouse still stands today and is still operational making it the oldest working lighthouse in all of Lake Superior.
7. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping At Mackinaw Parasailing
- Address: 201 S Huron Ave, Mackinaw City (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.
There is no better way to enjoy the waters of the Straits of Mackinac and its surrounding scenery than flying above it all using no more than a parachute and a boat.
Mackinaw Parasailing has been operating in St Ignace for over 25 years and has custom boats that allow for single, double, or even triple parasailers of all ages to fly in tandem.
You don’t even need to get wet as you take off and land on a flight deck. Mackinaw Parasailing is located on S. State St., close to the Wawatam Lighthouse.
8. Enjoy Wildlife Up Close At Garlyn Zoological Park
- Address: U.S. Rte 2, Naubinway (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adults: $15.00, Children 3 – 13: $12.50, 2 and under: FREE
Family Rate: $55.00 ( up to 6 people ), School RateS: $6.50/student
Just a half-hour drive from St. Ignace and six miles east of Naubinway, MI, lies Garlyn Zoological Park. Open all year round, the zoo is home to many local and exotic animals, including rare birds, large mammals, and a wide variety of reptiles.
Visiting the zoo is a fun activity for the entire family and even features a gift shop where you can purchase gifts and souvenirs for all your nature-loving friends!
9. Boat & Picnic at St Ignace City Marina
- Address: 13 S State St, St Ignace (GPS)
St Ignace City Marina is located in downtown St Ignace and is open to the general public – making it a great place to visit to enjoy lunch or dinner with loved ones by the waterfront.
If you plan on docking here you will enjoy state-of-the-art facilities including private restrooms, laundry facilities, clubhouse lounge, free Wi-Fi, electrical docking stations, and refueling stations.
In the summertime, the marina can get quite busy, and with only 136 slips available, it is always best to book your spot in advance. The marina is open seasonally from May to September.
10. Play A Round of Golf At St. Ignace Golf & Country Club
- Address: W223 U.S. Rte 2 W, St Ignace (GPS)
Fancy a round of golf in arguably one of Michigan’s most picturesque golf clubs? Pay a visit to the St Ignace Golf & Country Club with family and friends or even solo and enjoy a challenging par 36, a 9-hole golf course that is sure to put your skills to the test.
Hone your skills or partake in some friendly competition surrounded by unobstructed views of Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac. Golf carts and club rentals are available on-site and walk-ins are always welcome here. A Pro-Shop is also located inside the clubhouse.
11. Visit The Biddle House
- Address: 7029 Huron Rd, Mackinac Island (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Sunday: 10:00 am -6:00 pm.
- Cost of Admission: Adult $10.00, Child (Age 5-12) $6.50
Located inside Mackinac Island State Park, the Biddle House is a national historic landmark and one of the few surviving remnants of the American fur trade boom that happened in the 18th century.
Owned and operated by the husband and wife duo Edward and Agatha Biddle, the Biddle House is an old building that was once both the home that the couple stayed in, as well as a shop from which they expanded their fur business.
What’s unique about their story is the strife they had to face as Agatha was a Native American who was married to a European. Something unheard of at the time!
12. Visit The Haunted Theatre
- Address: 7396 Main St, Mackinac Island (GPS)
- Hours: From May – November:1,2023- Daily: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: $9 -per person, Veterans and Native Americans get in FREE!
The Haunted Theatre is a family-owned and operated haunted house that has been an attraction in St. Ignace for over 50 years. This haunted house is unlike any other, as it is inspired by Native American legends and folklore.
All the displays and artwork inside the haunted theater are one-of-a-kind and made by the renowned artist Dale Kuiper, who went on to create special effects for blockbuster Hollywood movies like Star Wars, The Thing, and The Howling.
13. Mackinac Straits Kayaking
- Address: souvenir shop, 499 North State Street Indian village, St Ignace (GPS)
- Cost of Admission: Per adventure ticket prices, check here.
There is no point in visiting an island and not enjoying some fun water-based activities. If you are in the mood to take to the water you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes at Mackinac Straits Kayaking, located at North Street in downtown St Ignace.
You can begin your kayaking adventures from Moran Bay in Lake Huron but it is best to stay away from the waters of the Straits of Mackinac. The unpredictable current in the straits can make kayaking in these waters a real challenge.
14. The “Mystery Spot”
The Mystery Spot, located just five miles from St Ignace is a popular destination for travelers looking for unique attractions. In a circular spot that is just 150 feet in diameter, you experience what your mind can only comprehend as a gravitational anomaly.
However, the mystery spot is actually a cleverly done optical illusion more so than a natural anomaly. While taking a photo seemingly suspended in mid-air is cool, the Mystery Spot offers plenty of other attractions to keep visitors entertained such as ziplining and mini golfing.
There is also an arcade, a maze, and a gift shop which ensures fun for the entire family.
15. Fort de Buade Museum
- Address: 334 N State St, St Ignace (GPS)
Owned and operated by the Michilimackinac Historical Society, Fort de Buade Museum houses an impressive collection of historical artifacts and items used by First Nation people. They lived here thousands of years before the French and British ever arrived.
The museum has one of the largest collections of authentic historical military artifacts and trade items used by the people living in the Michigan region.
The McKenney & Hall Gallery, also attached to the museum, showcases 120 stunning digital images of Native American dignitaries in the early 1800s and there is also a museum gift shop for souvenirs and gifts.
16. Wawatam Lighthouse
- Address: St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: 24 hours
It’s a Michigan fact that there are more lighthouses in the state than any other. One of the most modern lighthouses guarding the harbor of St Ignace is the picturesque Wawatam Lighthouse. Constructed in 2006, the lighthouse has quickly grown to become one of the most iconic landmarks of St. Ignace.
Its bright white exterior paint, red accents, and a beacon that can be seen as far out as 13 miles over Lake Huron make Wawatam Lighthouse hard to miss. While not as tall as other lighthouses in the region, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty.
The lighthouse beacon is lit all year round and is a fully automated official aid-to-navigation tool.
17. Climb Aboard The Mackinac Island Ferry
- Address: 253 N State St, St Ignace (GPS)
- Cost of Admission: Per adventure ticket prices, check here.
If you are in St Ignace you simply have to visit Mackinac Island. The best way to do that is by ferry. Luckily, two companies offer this service; Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry.
Tickets for the ferry range from $20-$30 per person and the ferry ride can take up to 20-30 minutes depending on the weather and how choppy the water is. You can also book night sky cruises to gaze at the stars above the great lakes, as well as plenty of other cruises and boat tours.
18. Manley’s Fish Market
- Address: 810 N State St, St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: Monday- Sunday:8 :00 am – 6:00 pm
If you are a fan of seafood and are wondering where you can get the best-smoked salmon in Michigan, head on down to Manley’s Fish Market, located in St Ignace’s beautiful downtown area. Here you can find all kinds of fresh, frozen, and smoked seafood that is all caught and sourced locally.
Stock up on delicious seafood delights such as lake trout, fresh salmon, and the famous Great Lakes whitefish under one roof! However, if you aren’t in the mood to cook but would rather have a delightful homemade-style seafood dinner instead, enjoy lunch or dinner at Driftwood Restaurant and Sports Bar, located just minutes away from Manley’s.
19. Fish At Chain Lake
Angling enthusiasts have a ton of locations where they can toss a line and catch some prized scalps. However, no fishing spot is more convenient or more rewarding than a large pond in St Ignace; referred to as Chain Lake.
The easiest way to access the lake is via the North Country Trail or following the St Ignace-Trout Lake Trail.
It takes barely a few minutes to get to this small lake that is teeming with a variety of fish species including, largemouth bass, northern pike, perch, catfish, carp, and sunfish. The lake is an excellent spot for both baitcasting and fly fishing.
20. Kewadin Shores Casino & Hotel
- Address: 3015 Mackinac Trail, St Ignace (GPS)
Alright, so it isn’t Vegas, but if you are feeling lucky and are in the mood to play a few casino games, the Kewadin Shores Casino & Hotel offers amazing games and amenities for casino lovers. Located on the Mackinac Trail, the casino doubles as a luxury hotel that offers guests a chance to relax and unwind while being surrounded by natural beauty, plenty of entertainment, and luxurious comfort.
With 81 luxury rooms, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and plenty of nearby attractions, Kewadin Shores Casino & Hotel isn’t just a great place to gamble, it’s one of the best accommodation options in St. Ignace.
21. Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum
- Address: 7070 Main St, Mackinac Island (GPS)
- Hours: June 3 – September 3, 2023- 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 4- October 8- 10:00 am– 4:30 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adult $10.00, Youth (Age 5-12) $6.50
Art lovers need to have this art museum at the top of their list of things to do and places to visit in St Ignace. Located inside a historic Native Indian Dormitory building on Mackinac Island, The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum showcases a vast collection of unique Mackinac-related artwork and photography.
The art museum captures the history and natural beauty of Mackinac Island through its diverse exhibits, live programs, and art shows and is a major attraction of Mackinac Island State Park.
22. Explore Mackinac Island State Park
- Address: 7029 Huron Rd, Mackinac Island (GPS)
- Hours: 24 hours
Mackinac Island State Park covers nearly 80% of Mackinac Island, spanning a distance of over 1,800 acres. Within its boundaries, the state park has plenty of attractions for visitors to explore including old forts, different types of museums, beautiful gardens, unique rock formations, and limestone caves.
The park also has a beach where you catch a tan, swim, or relax. Recreational activities at the park include biking and hiking through this scenic hilly island where you are likely going to come across significant historic locations such as the Mission House, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Matthew Geary House.
23. Father Marquette National Memorial
- Address: 592 Boulevard Dr, St Ignace (GPS)
Located in Straits State Park, the Father Marquette National Memorial pays tribute to the accomplishments and life work of famous French priest and explorer, Jacques Marquette. Renowned for being one of the most important French explorers of the New World, Marquette’s greatest achievement was the joint expedition he undertook with another French explorer Louis Jolliet.
The Jolliet-Marquette expedition, as it came to be known, was important in many ways as it helped map out a large part of southern America. Today, visitors can learn more about the life of Father Marquette through his memorial and reading the informative signs while walking along the outdoor trail leading up to the memorial.
24. Hiawatha National Forest Dunes
- Address: W1900 U.S. Rte 2, St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, Saturday – Sunday: Closed
Hiawatha National Forest spans over 100 miles across the Great Lakes shoreline and is one of the best places to visit in Michigan. However, one of its best attractions is situated just minutes away from St Ignace – its enormous dunes! Located in the St Ignace Ranger District, these gorgeous dunes can be found just by the lake waters and is the ideal spot for cool backdrops for photos.
It is also an excellent spot to enjoy the sunrise or sunset or go for a swim in the cool waters of the Great Lakes.
25. Visit The Deer Ranch
- Address: 1540 U.S. Rte 2, St Ignace (GPS)
- Hours: Monday- Sunday: 9: 00 am – 8:00 pm
- Cost of Admission:
Craving a wildlife experience? The Deer Ranch in St Ignace is said to have the oldest live whitetail deer exhibit in North America. The ranch is home to dozens of native Michigan whitetail deer, fawns, and even rare albino deer. The deer are all kept in a natural setting and can be viewed as you walk along a designated nature trail.
You can feed the deer, pet them and take photographs which is something your kids are just going to love. The Deer Ranch is open to visitors from Mid-May through Mid-October and charges a small admission fee of $6. It also features a unique deer-themed gift shop.
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